By Mohamed R. M. Farook –
The claim by Elections Commission (EC) Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya that ‘Most Sinhalese Happy About Recent Riots’ that appeared in Daily Mirror of 20th March 2018 is a serious matter for concern and disappointment not only for the Muslims (affected and others) but also for the large majority of peace loving Sinhala Buddhists and others too. It is regrettable that he made that claim whatever occasion or for whatever reasons that could have prompted him to do so.
If he had said that he is ‘happy’ without dragging the Sinhalese then it becomes a single person’s viewpoint and we could forget about it once and for all. But to drag ‘most’ Sinhalese tag is the dangerous element in his claim. Is that claim EC Chairman’s wishful thinking? Did he do a survey (research) and if so what was his sample and sampling method? Of course if he has gathered his data (which he could portray as information) from persons directly, remotely and also stage-back involvement in the recent riots, then he must be ashamed of dragging the educated, religious (Buddhism), peace-loving majority Buddhist Sinhalese who practise tolerance as per the Buddhist way of life in a pluralistic society and uphold the major elements of the Five Precepts viz: abstain from taking life, abstain from taking what is not given (what is not yours), abstain from sensuous misconduct, abstain from false speech (hate speech), to abstain from intoxicants as tending to cloud the mind. Does Deshapriya contend that most Sinhalese are happy over violence inflicted on Muslims, their possessions robbed, property destroyed and Mosques damaged? What is your logic/philosophy? Aren’t you a Buddhist?
Next the EC Chairman states that Muslims here are embracing Arab culture and that is fanning distrust – we presume he is referring to the dresses worn by Muslim women in particular and also Muslim men. Nothing of that sort. Arab culture and our culture are completely different. But the religion of Islam is one for all. In this present Global Village concept and Digital / Internet age, each person in any community could see the ‘fashions’ or ‘trends’ prevailing in their other brotherly / sisterly communities and could (or would) ‘copy’ such trends and of course these trends will change with time. For example, Muslims (Moors) men wore Fez headgear a generation ago, today it is scalp caps or no covering of the head. Please correct yourself from believing that Muslim girls are insulated from others – they are fully with the girls with other communities and speak good Sinhala. The girls (and also boys too) attend Muslim International schools because some government schools (not all), both Buddhist and Christian, give step motherly treatment to Muslims in their admission procedures.
His challenge for Muslims to invite Buddhists monks for lectures in a totally Muslim institutions is already existing for a long time. They – learned Buddhist monks – have delivered lectures on Islam, the history of Muslims in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and peaceful co-existence. The recent riots brought many Buddhist monks to safeguard Muslims in the affected areas and gave physical protection especially during the Friday prayers – we the Muslims are ever grateful to the Buddhist clergy and the Buddhists, Christians and Hindus for their unstinted help to the Muslim community in the time of need – May Allah (God) Shower His Blessings on all these right minded people.
*M.R.M.Farook – Chartered Engineer